When God’s Voice is Louder (Foster/adopt a child 2)

Our journey to become licensed foster parents has barely begun and we hit our first road block.  Our above ground pool is an issue.  There are all types of rules to having a pool when a foster parent.  The rules are understandable and basically we need to turn it into Fort Knox or build the Great Wall of China around it.  Earlier this summer as I wrote in the “Just Five or Six More Summers” blog we were faced with replacing the liner of the pool.  At the time I felt God urging me that it was the best stewardship to just repair the pool rather than take it down.  So we invested in the necessary repairs and went on.  Little did I know how much stronger God was going to place this burden of foster care on my heart just a few short months later, but God knew.  There was also no awareness that our pool set up would be considered “climbable”  by a small child.  I am not sure my five foot five inch build could climb it, but a strong-willed, strong-bodied, beef-cake toddler could very well prove it unsafe.  As I received the news from the case worker Friday I found myself back in an “arguing with God” moment.  Exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally from the week I yelled out “Why on earth would you put this on my heart if we can’t do it!?”  “Why would you give me the green light to invest in fixing the pool just to tell us to take it down!???!!”    After I prayed/said/asked my piece and started to listen God started to provide the answers.   One answer He provided was actually a question right back at me.  “What is a greater sacrifice Anita,  to give up a broken pool or to give up one that is fully restored?”

As I have said before I am just a sinner and I often try to fix things within my own strength instead of trusting God first so after my frustrated cries out to God I thought, measured, and researched prices of fencing.   The financial reality that the price of the fence and it’s lack of true function for our set up was just too great a cost for what the pool is worth.  By that next morning I had completely surrendered to fact that the two options we have as a family were to take the pool down and foster children or leave the pool up and not foster children.  My heart was now in complete submission that whatever we need to give up I am on board and that the life of any other human being is far more important than anything material.  The next question was what did the rest of the family feel God was telling them?  The first conversations were just between my husband and I.  After he had about twenty four hours to digest everything and pray he had come to the same point as I,  “We can just take the pool down.”   Initially a family meeting with us all together was what I thought was in order.   With the timing of a busy weekend this really wasn’t a possibility.  Separately I spoke with each daughter about the decision we were facing.  When I spoke to our youngest about the decision we faced as a family I explained the options including the ones  to get the pool to the requirements necessary.    Her words were  “that would look really dumb” when explaining how we would need to fence it or change the railing of the deck.

After allowing the girls about twenty four hours to think and to pray I asked them separately what their thoughts were about the pool.   Each of them separately said “We need to foster children.”  With each response from the most important people in my life my heart grew fuller and fuller with love toward them, toward God, and toward who ever God is planning to place within the care of our family.   He is doing an amazing work in all of our hearts.  There are so many scriptures that in my own bible study time, shared by friends on social media, and bible study/sermons at church that keep pointing us toward this decision.  It is funny that the one that has been on my heart the most has not been presented in any other way than through God bringing it up from the depths of my heart.

Matthew 25:35-40 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,  I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me,  I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.  Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you?’  The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”

What God keeps repeating to my heart over and over is…”I was a stranger and you invited me in…”

I Can’t Clean up my Own Mess

picnic tablepicnic table

As suggested by my Aunt blogging about this project will be much more constructive than this failed project.

Back in January when we picked vacation weeks I saw that the week of Mike’s and my anniversary was open for the taking.  Thinking maybe we could actually take a trip or something I put this week down.  As life and circumstances happen we are going to end up being lucky if we even get to go out for a meal just the two of us.  Wanting to make good use of time, I assigned myself some projects to complete this week.   One being to repaint yet again the old picnic table Mike’s dad gave us many years ago.  After scraping for what seemed like an eternity I moved to a power sander, scraping more, power sanding more.  The paint peel seemed to just keep growing worse.   I then tried power washing which wasn’t much help then we ran out of gas for the power washer.  Today I tried actually stripping the paint.  That has made yet a greater mess.  As the mess kept growing I began evaluating what is truly a valuable use of my time.  The hours of fruitless effort were already mocking me in the fact that I can not have that time back.   There is a strong willed competitive nature that I have as well as a very sentimental nature that was driving me to want to complete this project no matter the cost.

As of now I have had to walk away with my tail between my legs waving the white flag.  My mind is already planning other uses for the paint that I bought.

One thing this FAIL project is reminding of is how we can’t clean up our own mess.   Our life is a mess of sin.  We inherited the sinful nature the day we took our first breath.  All of us.  We are all a complete mess.  Oh there are all kinds of man made “cover ups”  “fix yourself” “religions” all types of methods, but nothing lasts or truly cuts to the heart of the problem.  The only one that can truly wipe away our every flaw is Jesus.  No amount of money, self help programs, or “good” deeds will clean us spotless.  Only the blood of Jesus.  God’s only Son who took the penalty for all of our mess upon that cross can forgive us and wash us clean.

What I need is a planer (pronounced like plainer) board to cut away all the old paint, stained, and spotted wood.  After we accept Jesus we are forgiven and as we follow him He is our planer board cutting away all the old messy spotted stuff.  He makes us clean and new.  Whew he still has a long way to go on me.  The good thing is that God doesn’t walk away from His creation like I have walked away from my project.  It doesn’t matter how messy we are He will wipe us clean and make us new!!  Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.”

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”